Highlights of Greece and Cruise
11 Day Tour
(Subject to Modifications)
Spring (late April or early May) 2014
Day 1: Depart USA
We depart Chicago this afternoon for our overnight flight to Athens, Greece. Sit back and relax as you enjoy the service in flight.
Day 2: Arrive in Athens
Upon our arrival in the Hellenic capital, we will meet our tour guide who will escort us to our awaiting motor coach. We will enjoy an introductory tour of Athens as we travel to our hotel. Upon arrival, we check into our hotel and enjoy the remainder of the afternoon free to rest and explore Athens on our own. This evening we will enjoy a nice welcome dinner together.
Day 3: Athens Tour & Cape Sounion
A full day city tour of Athens, the birth place of democracy, awaits us today. Visit the Acropolis, the Parthenon, and Erectheum before viewing Athens atop Mars Hill Additional sites include the Agora (ancient market place and center of Athenian public life), the House of Parliament, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Olympic Stadium, and Presidential Palace. This afternoon we enjoy an afternoon tour of beautiful Cape Sounion. We travel along a coastal road past many wonderful beaches to the southernmost point of Attica, Cape Sounion, where the white marble pillars of the Temple of Poseidon stand.
Day 4: Corinth, Mycenae and Epidaurus
This morning we leave Athens by motor coach, stop for a rest stop and photos at the Corinth Canal and then travel to the ancient city of Corinth. See the Archaeological Museum, the Market Place, the Bema, and the Temples. The ruins of this important cultural center are fascinating as we walk along the stone path that the Apostle Paul walked. The engineering skill and intellect of these people are evident in the water systems that still flow from ancient to modern day. Our guide will be sure to show you the room dedicated to the medical care of that period. After the visit to ancient Corinth we travel to Mycenae where the remains of the ancient city date back to the Bronze Age to see the famous Lionesse Gate, the Tomb of Agamennon in the shape of a Beehive, and then on to Epidaurus for a visit to the Open Air Theater before arriving in Olympia where we will enjoy our dinner and overnight.
Day 5: Olympia
This morning we enjoy a tour of ancient Olympia. Olympia is where the athletes of antiquity performed in honor of the King of Deities. Learn the history of those original Olympic Games as you walk amount the impressive remains of the Gymnasium and the Temples of Hera and Zeus. Also visit the museum which displays Praxiteles’ magnificent statue of Hermes before traveling to the busy seaport of Patras, and proceed through the picturesque fishing villages along the south coast of the mainland to mystic Delphi where we will enjoy our dinner and overnight.
Day 6: Delphi
Our morning is devoted to a fascinating tour of the ancient sanctuary of the god Apollo in its dramatic setting on the slopes of Mount Parnassus. Hear about the Oracle and tour the excavations before ending at the Archeological Museum to admire the famous Charioteer, an extraordinary 5th Century bronze statue. We return to Athens this afternoon and have the remainder of the day free to do some shopping in the famous Plaka district.
Day 7: Cruising Mykonos
After breakfast we leave our hotel and transfer to the Athens port in time to board our cruise. We set sail this morning from Athens to the quaint isle of Mykonos, called the island of windmills. Experience the waterfront lined with shops and cafes and then stroll the charming walkways through a maze of whitewashed buildings before returning to the ship for dinner and evening entertainment.
Day 8: Ephesus and Patmos
Docking in Turkey, enjoy an optional tour of Ephesus, the city of the Bible and one of the largest restorations still in progress with miles of ancient treasures. Ephesus was once a thriving port town of 250,000 people. Today you can still see the spectacular excavations of the major streets in this ancient city. We'll view the Library, Agora, Temple of Artemis and visit the Basilica of St. John. The basilica is believed to be the site of the grave of John. From here we'll also enjoy a panoramic view of the area. This afternoon we visit the Isle of Patmos, under statutory protection as a historic monument. Here we have a optional tour to see the fortified monastery of St. John and the cave claimed to be where John received the Revelation. Back on the ship, enjoy the Captain's dinner before settling in to your cabin for the night.
Day 9: Crete and Santorini
Crete is the largest and the most rugged of the Greek islands. Take an optional tour to Heraklion and the fantastic ruins of the Palace of Knossos. Discovered in 1899 and partially reconstructed, the elaborate Palace is believed to be the mythical Labyrinth of King Minos and the seat of ancient Minoan culture. This afternoon visit the island of Santorini which is perhaps the most breathtaking of all the Greek Islands. The town of Thira where white-washed houses, narrow streets, open-air cafes and glittering boutiques cling to steep cliffs, is accessible by foot path, cable-car or mule. You may choose to take an optional tour of sailing around an active volcano crater and swimming in the water heated by hot springs or enjoy this lovely island on foot. Again we return to the ship for dinner and evening entertainment.
Day 10: Disembark in Athens and Free Day
We arrive in Athens this morning and disembark our cruise. The remainder of our day is free to enjoy shopping and sightseeing on our own.
Day 11: Return Home
We depart for home today.